Students have long searched for an online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree that can fit into their lives. As working professionals, they need a degree that can tailor itself around their already busy lives, juggling work and personal obligations. Now that some schools have begun providing the programs mostly or partly online, the time has come to create a ranking that showcases the most affordable programs available.
Working professionals are looking for affordable programs that can be completed online. They often have families and other responsibilities that make their education budget a bit restricted, so taking courses online is one way to cut down on the price of their education. But they also require quality degrees, ones that provoke their need for knowledge and are identical to the academically rigorous programs that are provided online. The schools on this list meet both requirements and will provide students with a variety of options as they enter online education.
This ranking would not have been possible without first doing research; this was conducted by using the National Center for Education Statistics website and its publicly available College Navigator database. A group of 20 schools was initially identified by searching for online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems. After the list was compiled, all programs were reviewed and ranked based on several factors, the most important being the program cost. The final 15 schools were chosen based on the school’s total estimated in-state graduate tuition cost for the program.
Ranking Low-Cost Ph.D in Management Information Systems
15. Sullivan University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Management, IT Management Concentration
Sullivan University confers an online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree that focuses on management within organizations. This degree is offered entirely online; there are no residency requirements. There are four concentrations that are available, including Information Technology Management, Human Resource Leadership, Strategic Management, and Conflict Management. Built as a scholar-practitioner program, this degree focuses on research and academics, which will then translate into the application. This degree requires a minimum of 58 credit hours of coursework, a program residency, a comprehensive doctoral exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Mixed Methods Research and Design, Seminar in Human Capital Management, and Organizations and External Environments.
14. Northcentral University
San Diego, California
Online Doctor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems
The affordable online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree that is available from Northcentral University is a program designed for professionals who are interested in becoming leaders in the field. This is a terminal degree for management information systems professionals. Students will approach this degree as a research-based program that has practical applications. The program is offered entirely online with no residency requirements. Students will find that the degree has a stated focus in business, research, and statistics. The specialization courses focus on information technology management and maintenance. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of coursework, a DBA portfolio, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Database Administration and Management, Enterprise Network Architecture, and Information Technology Decision Support.
13. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Online Doctor of Computer Science, Specialization in Enterprise Information Systems
Colorado Technical University confers an affordable Ph.D. in Management Information Systems online degree that was designed for professionals who are interested in management or leadership positions. This is a low-residency program; students will take on some residencies throughout their program. This is a comprehensive program that focuses on information management, research methods, and enterprise tools. Students will also spend quite a bit of time writing their dissertation proposal and the paper. This degree requires a minimum of 100 credit hours of coursework and a dissertation. Sample courses include Information Technology Service Management, Principles of Research Methods and Design, and Enterprise Management Concepts and Databases.
12. Baker College
Online Doctor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems
The low-cost Ph.D. in Management Information Systems online degree that is offered by Baker College is focused on business administration through the perspective of the field. This degree is a low-residency program; one-week intensives are required throughout the course of study. Students will find that the program focuses on the academic and professional development and culminates with a research-based dissertation. Students will work independently throughout the degree. They will be able to complete one of five concentrations, including Leadership, Finance, Management Information Systems, Marketing, and Human Resources. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, a professional residency, a comprehensive essay, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Corporate and Personal Ethics, Doctoral Writing and Literature Review, and Managing in a World-Wide Context.
11. George Fox University
Online Doctor of Business Administration in Management
George Fox University provides students with an online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems that focuses on management. Students will find that this is a low-residency program; twice a year, students will go to campus for week-long intensives. Through this specialization, students will be able to understand the advanced relationship between management and business, including with courses on management information systems. This degree Requires 56 credit hours of coursework, a set of comprehensive final exams, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Strategic Management, Organizational Theory and Behavior, and Human Resources Development.
10. The University of Central Missouri
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Technology Management
Students at the University of Central Missouri are offered the chance to complete a low-cost online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree. The program has a strong focus on the relationship between technology and management, including courses on database administration and cloud computing as well as electives in human resources and computer science. This degree is offered as a low-residency program that has five technical specializations: Construction Management, Digital Communications, Manufacturing Systems, Human Resource Development and Industrial Training, and Quality Systems. More information on this degree as well as its graduation requirements and a list of course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s doctoral admissions department.
9. Dakota State University
Madison, South Dakota
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems
Dakota State University confers a low-cost online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree that is focused on information systems and management. This degree is offered entirely online; there are no residency requirements. Students can choose from three different specializations: Analytics and Decision Support, Information Assurance and Computer Security, and Healthcare Information Systems. This is a terminal degree that will give students the expert knowledge they need in order to become senior leaders and administrators in the field. As a comprehensive curriculum, students will study all the aspects of information systems, not just the management aspect to ensure that they understand the necessity of leaders in the field. This degree requires a minimum of 88 credit hours of coursework, a qualifying portfolio, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Foundations of Programming, Introduction to Research, and Applied Statistics.
8. Grand Canyon University
Online Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Management
The online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree that is offered by Grand Canyon University is actually a business degree, making it a great choice for business professionals who are interested in entering the exciting world of this evolving field. The program combines strategic management theory with innovative business practices, creating a degree that employers will be sure to be interested in. Students will find that this is a low-residency program; students will need to complete two separate four-day residencies in order to fulfill the requirements for graduation. Students will also take on a dissertation that starts with a problem they present. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework as well as a dissertation. Sample courses include Approaches to Research Design and Data Analysis, Using Business Analytics for Competitive Advantage, and Management of Business Complexity.
7. Capella University
St. Paul, Minnesota
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management, Specialization in Information Technology Management
Capella University is offering students the chance to complete an online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems that will meet their needs in the business world. This is a low-residency program; students will travel to campus three times during the course of their study. This degree is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Business. The curriculum is focused on a global perspective on technology as well as a systems-thinking approach. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework, a comprehensive final exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Business Principles and Practices, Economics in Global Environments, and Accounting and Finance Principles and Practice.
6. Liberty University
Online Doctor of Business Administration in Information Systems
The online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree that is provided by Liberty University is dedicated to providing students with a terminal education in the field of information systems. Students will find that this curriculum focuses on business management and the technology that is used to strategize for effective business practices. Students will note that this degree is offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. The degree focuses on various aspects of business management and the technologies that are apparent in every aspect. Students can expect to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework and a dissertation. Sample courses include Strategic Allocation of Financial Resources, Human Resource Development, and Strategic Thinking for Decision-Making.
5. The University of North Texas
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Learning Technologies
The University of North Texas is home to an online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems that can be completed entirely online with no residency requirements. Students may also choose to complete a hybrid course of study if they so choose. This degree focuses on providing students with the most advanced concepts and theories in the field of learning technologies, many of which are in use today in the management world. Between learning about effective managing practices in understanding how to navigate online technologies as a leader, this degree was built to provide students with the last skills and knowledge needed to become pioneers in the field. This cohort degree requires a minimum of 69 credit hours of coursework and a dissertation. Sample courses include Theory of Instructional Technology, Emerging Technologies in Education, and Philosophy of Computing in Education.
4. California Intercontinental University
Online Doctor of Business Administration in Information Systems and Enterprise Resource Management
The online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree available from California Intercontinental University was designed for working professionals who wish to become leaders in this rapidly changing field. The program was designed to ensure that all students understand the new and emerging technologies that are changing the way the public and private sectors work. This degree has no residency requirements and can be completed 100 percent online. Students will find that the curriculum focuses on management, business, and the interrelation between the two fields. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework as well as a dissertation. Sample courses include Global Business Finance, Managing Information Technology Projects, and E-Commerce Models and Applications.
3. Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Technology Management
Indiana State University provides students with an online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree that was built to prepare them for leadership roles both in the private and public sectors. The degree is focused on ensuring that students understand both research procedures and instructional processes as well as the concepts and theories that govern the field. There are five areas of concentration, including Digital Communication Systems, Manufacturing Systems, Quality Systems, Construction Management, and Industrial Training. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 66 credit hours of coursework and a dissertation. Sample courses include Legal Aspects of Industry, Technological Assessment and Innovation, and Studies in Trends and Development of Technology.
2. Argosy University
Online Doctor of Business Administration, Concentration in Information Systems
The online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree that is conferred by Argosy University was designed to provide both industry and academic professionals with a terminal degree that focuses on action research and applied practices in the field. This degree is available online and has no residency requirements. Students will be required to complete a concentration in one of six areas, including Marketing, Management, Information Systems, International Business, Accounting, and a Customized Professional Concentration. This degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework and a dissertation. Sample courses include Introduction to Research Methods, Advanced Academic Study and Writing, and Survey Techniques.
1. North Carolina A&T State University
Greensboro, North Carolina
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Technology Management
North Carolina A&T University, along with Indiana State University, offers a join online Ph.D. in Technology Management. This degree is offered as a terminal degree in business education and information technology. It is a customizable degree plan that offers students the chance to create their own degree to follow their interests and passions. Students who wish to follow a pre-set specialization can also do that as well; some options include Quality Systems, Manufacturing Systems, and Digital Communications. All students will be required to complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework and a dissertation. More information on this degree and its course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Affordable Online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems?
- Information Systems Consultant
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Web Developer
- Information Systems Director
- Database Administrator
- Computer and Information Research Scientist
- Management Information Systems Manager
- Application Developer
- Government Researcher
- Information Technology Technical Support Specialist
- Information Systems Technology Specialist
- College or University Professor
- Systems Analyst
- Data Scientist
- Software Engineer
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The average salary for this field is $65,000. The average salary range for all occupations in this field is between $50,000 to $85,000. This salary range does not include additional forms of compensation, including bonuses or compensation.
It is possible to make over $125,000 in this field; managers and researchers tend to make this salary, regardless if they work in the public or private sector. Other positions, such as a university professor, can make upwards of $90,000 a year once they reach tenure.
A popular way to create a career is as a freelance or contract management information systems consultant. It is hard to quantify how much a person would make as an annual salary because freelancers and contract workers tend to get paid per project and not collect paychecks every two weeks. They do, however, stand to make more money than their salaried counterparts because they are often paid bonuses based on their projects and can work more jobs than someone who works with one company.
Something else to consider is those that work for themselves; many entrepreneurs build their own firms and hire themselves out to the government or large corporations. This enables the professional to make money but comes with its own responsibilities; professionals will be responsible both for their job with their client as well as running their own business.
What are the Various Disciplines of Management Information Systems?
Management information systems is a field that is defined as the study of the relationship between people, technology, and organizations. While most people seem to correlate the field with just technology, and more specifically computer science, the field is much more wide-ranging. This has led to a variety of disciplines that play a role in the field.
Some common disciplines found in management information systems include business, computer science, politics, economics, psychology, organization, leadership, sociology, statistics, and research. Depending on the focus of the program, students may find that some of these disciplines are dealt with in-depth while others are just briefly touched on. All, however, do play a role in the field.
Other fields are also important and may be more important in degrees that have a general focus on business. Organizational psychology and human resources is important, especially when tied to technological courses such as database administration and knowledge management. More secondary disciplines can be uncovered by looking at different schools and their focus on their degrees.
Is a Dissertation Required for a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems?
Yes, most doctoral degrees in management information systems require a dissertation. They also will require research prior to the dissertation proposal. This is a requirement that is widely held by most programs because the research and writing of the dissertation, as well as its oral defense, will provide the department with a demonstration of the student’s understanding of their education and their ability to translate that into a project that they can competently defend in front of a panel. It is especially useful for DBA graduates as the dissertation is often formed as a real-world problem and a solution that was chosen by the student.
However, some programs may not require a dissertation. Some schools choose to have students complete a real-world project or case study. The underlying principle is the same: have the student identify a problem, research potential solutions, and plan and execute, on paper, a solution. While these projects generally do not need an oral defense, students will still be expected to provide the department with answers to any questions that they may have.
It is rare to find a program that does not require a dissertation or a project for graduation. If a student does find one, it is advised that they research the school’s reputation in the field prior to applying. While a dissertation may seem like a waste of time, it is put into place for the student’s benefit; schools without any type of culminating project to be approached cautiously.
Is Accreditation for this Program Important and If So, Why?
No, accreditation is not important for a degree in management information systems. It can be useful, particularly for business graduates, but it remains a field that does not only require accreditation to find a job, but one in which a national association to accredit programs does not exist. This may be because there are so many applications for the profession that it would be difficult to create a comprehensive set of guidelines for schools to follow.
Students who graduate with a Doctor of Business Administration would benefit from accreditation; these accrediting bodies include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of business as well as its international counterpart, among others. Graduating from an accredited program will be a boost to their resume, especially if they remain in the field. However, it has become quite clear in the last few years that the accreditation does not translate as readily for management information systems professionals as it does for others.
What are Some Admissions Requirements that are Common for Admittance into this Program?
There are not that many admissions requirements for a doctoral degree in management information systems. However, there are a few that need to be discussed since they play a major role in whether a student is accepted into a program or not. For the sake of brevity, GMAT and GRE scores, along with college transcripts, will not be discussed.
Three or more references are a general admissions requirement. This requirement stipulates that references cannot come from personal relationships; this includes family, friends, or spouses. They must be professional references from either employers or previous university professors. This is because the point of the references is to support the idea that a student has the stamina and drive to complete the degree.
A resume is also often required at the doctoral stage. This shows the department what past work experience a professional has in the management information systems field. If a student does not have previous experience in the field but can point to previous managerial experience in business or a nonprofit organization, that would give them the necessary experience to excel in the program. Doctoral programs are terminal programs and a student must have some experience in the field in order to keep pace with the curriculum.
The last common requirement is a personal essay. While some experts claim the essay is not necessary, the essay serves as a way for the student to directly speak to the department. Usually less than 1,000 words long, the essay is a medium in which the student can communicate why they want to take on the degree, their plans for their career, and why they think they would be a good candidate for the program.
The management information systems field is an exciting one; it changes and grows every year with the advent of new technologies and processes that advance the field. More importantly, it is a field that continues to grow in importance, especially as so many people are using technology to benefit their lives, both at home and at work. An online Ph.D. in Management Information Systems degree is the perfect choice for students who want to be at the forefront of this ever-changing field, ensuring that they are pioneers in business, technology, and organizations.